REVIEW: Luther: The Fallen Sun (2023)

Idris Elba as John Luther in LUTHER: THE FALLEN SUN — PHOTO: NETFLIX.

Directed by Jamie Payne — Screenplay by Neil Cross.

The British crime drama series Luther has been on my watchlist for quite some time. Recently, with the release of Luther: The Fallen Sun on the horizon, I decided to finally check it out, and, so, I’ve spent the better part of a week binge-watching the British series that proved to be a successful star vehicle for Idris Elba whose magnetic screen presence elevated the series above lesser genre fare. I liked the series quite a bit, but, admittedly, the show started to lose me around series four, and the show didn’t hold my attention or interest as well in series four and five as it had done earlier. This did make me nervous about the film, as it was written by the series’ writer and creator and directed by the man who directed the fifth series. While The Fallen Sun is not without faults (it’s incredibly obvious what it’s trying to be), I must admit that I found it to be more arresting, gripping, and watchable than both series four and five. 

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REVIEW: We Have A Ghost (2023)

David Harbour and Anthony Mackie in WE HAVE A GHOST — PHOTO: NETFLIX.

Directed by Christopher Landon — Screenplay by Christopher Landon.

Christopher Landon is a rather interesting up-and-coming horror filmmaker. Reportedly scheduled to remake Frank Marshall’s Arachnophobia, Landon has made a career off taking well-trod genre fare and giving it a modern feel and often with a comedic slant. Among other things, he co-wrote D. J. Caruso’s Disturbia (a thriller that is so close to Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window in the concept that it led to a lawsuit) and several Paranormal Activity films, before he became a household name for horror film fans by writing and directing his Happy Death Day films (slasher comedies that runs with the time-loop concept from Harold Ramis’ Groundhog Day) and Freaky, 2020s horror comedy reinterpretation of the classic body swap story Freaky Friday. His latest film, We Have A Ghost, is similarly placed squarely in the horror-comedy genre-blend and it, too, wears its inspirations on its sleeves. Most of Landon’s previous films as a director have been decent-to-good, and although We Have A Ghost doesn’t reach its full potential, it’s still a pretty decent but derivative little family film. 

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Top Ten TV-Shows of 2022

It’s time. I’ve seen everything that I feel like I need to see before I can publish my best TV/streaming shows list for 2022. Today, I’ll list ten shows that I think were absolutely fantastic last year. You’ll find a lot of different shows on this list. Some of them are big franchise entries, but there are also new favorites and an experimental show that I was obsessed with last year. So, without further ado, let’s get to it. Counting down from ten to one, these are the best television shows of 2022.

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REVIEW: Blonde (2022)

Ana de Armas as Marilyn Monroe in BLONDE — PHOTO: NETFLIX.

Directed by Andrew Dominik — Screenplay by Andrew Dominik.

One of the most controversial films of 2022, Andrew Dominik’s Blonde is based on the Joyce Carol Oates’ biographical fiction novel of the same name about the life of American actress and icon Norma Jeane, better known as Marilyn Monroe (played by Ana de Armas). Dominik’s film follows her from a troubled childhood to her suicide after years of stardom, mood disorders, and public relationships.

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REVIEW: You People (2023)

L-R: David Duchovny, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Jonah Hill, Lauren London, Eddie Murphy, and Nia Long in YOU PEOPLE — PHOTO: NETFLIX / Parrish Lewis.

Directed by Kenya Barris — Screenplay by Kenya Barris and Jonah Hill.

In SAVE THE DATES, Netflix’s 2023 preview of select significant upcoming films to be released by the streamer this year, the first date and film that Netflix wants us to mark down is January 27th’s release of Kenya Barris’ You People starring Eddie Murphy, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and co-writer Jonah Hill. Released on International Holocaust Remembrance Day, You People from Kenya Barris (the co-writer of both 2021’s disappointing Coming to America-sequel and the dull modern remake of Cheaper By the Dozen from 2022) follows Ezra Cohen (played by Jonah Hill), a hip and modern podcaster of Jewish heritage, as he decides takes it upon himself to gain the acceptance of his girlfriend’s family before he asks her to marry him. His girlfriend, Amira (played by Lauren London), is a young Black costume designer who grew up in a Muslim household, and her father, Akbar (played by Eddie Murphy) is staunchly against her taking a white husband. While both Ezra and Amira struggle with each other’s families, the situation goes out of control when the families meet each other.

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REVIEW: Dog Gone (2023)

Johnny Berchtold’s ‘Fielding Marshall’ with ‘Gonker’ in DOG GONE — PHOTO: Netflix / Bob Mahoney.

Directed by Stephen Herek — Screenplay by Nick Santora.

Inspired by a book by Pauls Toutonghi and the true story that it was based on, Stephen Herek’s Dog Gone follows a father (John Marshall, played by Rob Lowe) and a son (Fielding Marshall, played by Johnny Berchtold) as they search desperately on the Appalachian Trail for the son’s missing dog named Gonker. It is a race against time, as Gonker has been diagnosed with Addison’s disease, which requires him to have a life-saving shot every month. As the family (including the mother, Ginny Marshall, played by Kimberly Williams-Paisley) tries to reach out to others for help, they are surprised to find out exactly how many people can relate to their situation and are desperate to help.

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REVIEW: The Hatchet-Wielding Hitchhiker (2023 – Documentary)

Still image from the Netflix documentary, originally from a KMPH News interview.

Directed by Colette Camden.

Every once in a while, my sister will approach me and say: “smash, smash, smash!” or “no matter what you’ve done, you deserve respect, even if you make mistakes. […] You’re worthwhile.” That last quote goes on and on and on. I should explain. My sister doesn’t follow me around to deliver sitcom-like catchphrases or acknowledgments. Rather, she often quotes the ‘songified’ clips from the YouTube channel Schmoyoho. Back in 2013, Schmoyoho released the songified clip “smash. Smash. SMASH!” which featured a viral eyewitness account video of a hitchhiker who describes how he used a hatchet to hit someone, who had picked him up, in the head, when said person endangered a woman’s life. Now, almost exactly ten years later, Netflix has released a documentary about the hitchhiker who became an online sensation. 

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REVIEW: Mumbai Mafia – Police vs The Underworld (2023 – Documentary)

PHOTO: Netflix.

Directed by Raaghav Dar and Francis Longhurst.

To kick off the new year, you would expect that Netflix had a major 2023 film to release. Not so. Instead, their first major release of 2023, The Pale Blue Eye (review coming soon), is technically a very late 2022 film. But since they have released a new documentary straight to Netflix that I believe to be a 2023 release, I thought I would review it to get the 2023 list off and running. So, here we have Raaghav Dar and Francis Longhurst’s Mumbai Mafia: Police vs The Underworld, which, as you can probably guess, is the kind of documentary that gives the basic premise away right there in the title. 

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REVIEW: Bardo, False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths (2022)

Bardo, False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths (2022). Daniel GimÈnez Cacho as Silverio. Cr. Limbo Films, S. De R.L. de C.V. / Netflix

Directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu — Screenplay by Alejandro González Iñárritu and Nicolás Giacobone.

Taking inspiration, whether conceptually or visually, from a lot of different filmmakers including Fellini and Malick, Alejandro González Iñárritu has gone out and made a visually eye-opening self-insert introspective dream narrative that is possibly going to be quite puzzling for most people (if, indeed, they ever choose to watch it and sit through it on Netflix). It follows a Mexican journalist and documentarian filmmaker who is trying to make sense of his dual identity during an existential crisis. That is a really short and simple way of summing up a film that tries to be so much more and which has an overwhelming runtime, but it perhaps doesn’t get to the kind of jaw-dropping visual ideas that the director throws out there. It goes places that can be tough to wrap your head around (e.g. a baby is pushed back into her mother moments after it was born), and these ambitious hallucinatory sequences may be the best thing about the film, even though it, along with the runtime, may be the very thing that discourages viewers from pressing play.

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REVIEW: The Crown – Season Five (2022)


Series Created by Peter Morgan.

A lot has happened since November 2020, when, two years ago, Netflix released the fourth season of their wildly successful historical drama, The Crown. Britain has had three different prime ministers — Boris Johnson, Liz Truss, and, current PM, Rishi Sunak — and, most importantly, Queen Elizabeth II, the subject of this series, has died. The United Kingdom now has a new monarch in King Charles III, who, as the series has moved forward, has moved closer and closer to the focal point of the series. Indeed, one might argue that these latest two seasons are the most critical of the former Prince of Wales.

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